because a man is born in a stable that does not make him a horse

Sometimes attributed to the Duke of Wellington (1769–1852); see quot. 1969.

1833 M. SCOTT Tom Cringle’s Log I. iv. ‘I am an Englishman and no traitor, nor will I die the death of one.’.. ‘Truly..a man does sometimes become a horse by being born in a stable.’

1906 Times Literary Supplement 27 Apr. 147 Except on the principle that the man who is born in a stable is a horse, [he] was not an Irishman at all.

1969 E. LONGFORD Wellington: Years of Sword viii. If Wellington was ever chaffed for being an Irishman and replied with a notorious quip, it was probably during this period [1807]: Because a man is born in a stable that does not make him a horse.

1980 J. O’FAOLAIN No Country for Young Men ii. Father Casey..has a theory that the Irish back in Ireland have less claim to Irishness than men like himself. Something to do with..being born in a stable not necessarily making you a horse.


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